Higher-Order Aberrations Explained

You may wonder what aberrations are and what it does to your eyes when your doctor says that you have it. Coma, trefoil, and spherical aberration are some of the unfamiliar names of higher-order aberrations. These can cause some struggles seeing during the night, blurring, or double vision. To some degree, eyes have a spoil of aberration making it impossible to have a perfect eye.

These are more distinct and are more intricate than astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. These aberrations will not be corrected just by wearing regular eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Unless it causes vision symptoms, you should not be worried about having a higher-order aberration.

Higher-Order Aberrations

How is it Diagnosed?

It is identified by the types of distortions that were obtained by a wavefront of light that passes through the eyes. An eye obtains certain three-dimensional, distorted shapes. Currently, there are 60 different aberrations have been identified.

Two commonly used description of refractive errors of the eyes are:

Lower-order aberrations
Higher-order aberrations

The complexity of the shape of the wavefront gives the order. The more complex, the higher the order.

Impact of Higher-Order Aberrations on Vision Quality

Various factors including the cause of aberration are responsible for the impact of higher-order aberrations.

In low lighting, symptoms caused by higher-order aberrations can be experienced by people who have a larger size of the pupil. But this can also happen to people who have higher-order aberrations caused by scars, or cataracts. Vision quality is also affected by specific types of higher-order aberration. Vision quality can also experience a severe impact from certain higher-order aberrations.

Higher-Order Aberrations

Higher-Order Aberrations Associated Symptoms

A specific higher-order aberration and a symptom cannot be detected easily because different higher-order aberrations are interacting in the eye together. With that being said, higher-order aberrations are still basically related to poor night vision, loss of contrast, blurriness, and double vision (diplopia).

Is There a Treatment for Higher-order Aberrations?

Numerous types of adaptive optics are being developed or have been developed to correct higher-order aberrations. These optics include intraocular lenses, refractive surgery, and contact lenses.
The goal of having adaptive optics is to obtain the correct vision that can go well with the shape of the wavefront appearing in the plane of the pupil.

Though having advanced technology is present to provide such a product, adaptive optics may still be unable to precisely mark the specific deformity or flaw in the eye that causes the distortions.

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